August 21, 1955
Location: Kelly, Kentucky, United States
Ray Taylor went out to fetch some water from the Sutton
family well, when he saw a large shining object land in
a gully about a city block away. A short time later, Carl
"Lucky" Sutton and Billy Ray went out to investigate
and saw a small 3-to-4 foot creature walking towards them
with its hands up, as if surrendering. They later described
the creature, one of several encountered that night, as
having large eyes, a long thin mouth, large ears, thin
short legs, and hands ending in claws.
Drawing by artist Bud Ledwith, showing one of the creatures
described by the witnesses. (credit: UFOs Northwest)
Drawing of the initial sighting by Billy Ray Taylor of
the object which
'landed" in the gully. The drawing was made by Bud
Ledwith on the
afternoon following the sighting. (credit: UFOs Northwest)
Three of the witnesses to the incident. In the middle
is Elmer "Lucky" Sutton
discussing how the craft landed. (credit: UFOs Northwest)
Loy Lawhon, About.com
August 21-22, 1955
is a small town, and Hopkinsville a small city, both located
in rural Christian County in southwestern Kentucky. "Lucky"
Sutton's family farm was located nearer to Kelly, but
the nearest police were in Hopkinsville. Thus, this case
acquired the name Kelly-Hopkinsville.
around 7.00 p.m. on August 21, a visiting Pennsylvania
man named Billy Ray Taylor went out to fetch some water
from the Sutton family well. While he was at the well,
he saw a large shining object land in a gully about a
city block away. He went back inside and told the others,
but they laughed and didn't believe him.
short time later, the family dog began barking wildly
outside, so Carl "Lucky" Sutton and Billy
Ray grabbed their guns and went out to investigate. They
had walked a few yards from the front door when they saw
a small 3-to-4 foot creature walking towards them with
its hands up, as if surrendering. They later described
the creature as having large eyes, a long thin mouth,
large ears, thin short legs, and hands ending in claws.
a rural area in the 1950s, folks were likely to shoot
first and ask questions later if they felt threatened.
Even though the creature seemed to be peaceful, Billy
Ray fired a shot at it with his .22, and Lucky blasted
away with his shotgun. They couldn't possibly have missed
the creature at that range, but it just did a quick back
flip and ran quickly into the woods, apparently unharmed.
Ray and Lucky returned to the house, but before they could
tell the others what had happened, the creature, or another
one like it, appeared in front of a window. They shot
at him through the screen, leaving a hole that investigators
noticed later. When the men went outside to see if they
had killed the creature, they found nothing. As they looked,
one of the creatures, from the roof of the house, reached
down to touch one of the men's hair. They shot at it,
but it just floated to the ground and then ran off into
went back inside and soon the house was under siege by
a group of the creatures. The seven adults and four children
in the house at the time were terrified as creature after
creature appeared at windows around the house, seemingly
taunting them. The men's guns were totally ineffective
against the creatures.
about three hours of this, the family decided to make
a run for it. They piled into two vehicles and drove down
to the local police station to report the event, arriving
at about 11:00 p.m. When police officers were finally
persuaded to go to the farm and investigate, they could
find no evidence of the strange events except for gunshot
holes in the windows and walls.
to reports, Sheriff Russell Greenwell was among the twenty-five
or so law enforcement officers investigating the scene
and the family who had told this wild tale. By all accounts,
the witnesses were determined to be sane, not drinking,
and in such a state of terror that no one who talked to
them doubted that they had seen something unusual. Neighbors
reported hearing the shooting, and one person had seen
"lights in the sky" earlier that evening.
after the police left, at about 2:15 a.m., the creatures
returned. As before, they began staring into windows,
curious but not hostile. Again, the men responded with
gunfire, and again, it had no effect. This ordeal continued
until a half an hour before sunrise. On the morning of
the 22nd, the police, along with the Air Force, investigated
but again found nothing. Billy Ray and Lucky weren't there,
having driven to Evansville, Indiana to take care of some
sort of business. The Hopkinsville newspaper, The Kentucky
New Era, carried the story on 8/22/55.
people believe this case to be a complete hoax. If it
was, then it has to be one of the biggest and most useless
hoaxes in ufology to date. The family made no money from
the incident and did not want any publicity at the time.
They had to make extensive repairs to the house which
cost them a considerable sum of money for that year. In
the course of shooting at the creatures, Billy Ray and
Lucky had shot up the house pretty well. All seven adults
told the same story with no contradictory evidence in
their statements. Sketches of the creatures based on descriptions
from different witnesses matched closely. Their stories
were unwavering a year later, when a thorough investigation
of the case was conducted by Isabel Davis.
evidence of a hoax has ever been revealed in this case,
and the Suttons still insisted that it was true, years
later. Now, over forty years later, it's likely that many,
if not all, of the Suttons who were adults at the time
have gone to their graves without changing their story.
astronomer and UFOlogist J. Allen Hynek took the story
seriously because he discussed the case with two of the
principal investigators of the story: Bud Ledwith, an
engineer at a radio station in Hopkinsville and a personal
acquaintance of Hynek's, and Isabel Davis, an investigator
from New York City.